Paper Daniel Hiernaux.pdf

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Paper Daniel Hiernaux.pdf

Migrations and imaginary lifestyle in Mexico 1

Daniel HIERNAUX 2

Introduction

Today's societies are described as more "liquid" (among others: Bauman, 2006) or more

'mobile' (Urry, 2007): movements of people, goods, capital and images have generated a

global society turmoil that rests in part on technological innovations in transportation and

communications. The NTIC (New Technologies of Information and Communication) have

been effectively the support that allowed the movement of all types, but they cannot be

created if not through an extremely rapid transformation of societal views that have shifted

from a world firmly anchored to the territory to another in which its space binds are much

thinner and ephemeral.

We start then from the proposal that the central factor of the new mobility is situated in

society behavioral changes rather than the potential offered by new technologies. In other

words, new technologies are a result of a social demand rather than create it. Certain social

processes such as mass tourism, that increase since the Second World War, were then

forerunners of what today is called "globalization" and it is clear that they were the factor that

prompted the development of new information mobility technologies for example hotel

reservations and the aeronautical development (Hiernaux, 1998).

Over the decades that were key to the sustained development of capitalism in the postwar

period -the years called the " glorious thirty" in the literature on the subject-, the movement of

people, goods, and capitals was intensified; within the "wandering images” from that time,

those who extol the American way of life were instrumental in promoting the social imaginary

of progress, mobility and speed in all its forms. The world was preparing for a new phase of

mobility, not proportional to the previous ones, particularly referring to the early twentieth

century when capitalism expands worldwide. In the particular circumstances of the late

nineteenth century, analysis by metropolitan sociologists like Georg Simmel or Ferdinand

Tonnies, pointed this ability that the capitalism of the time had to expand on a planetary

level; Lenin would do the same analysis but focused on a staunch critic of a new form of

expansion of financial capital over the world.

The reduction or disappearance of the regulatory systems, but also the reduction of mobility

limitations (boundaries, etc.) had been demanded since the sixties of last century by some

economists like François Perroux who considered that the best weapon to expand capitalism

and promote development was the collapse of all the constraints or barriers to capitalist

expansion. Even if the author cannot be considered liberal, these proposals were a seed for

1 Paper for the 2nd Internacional Workshop on Lifestyle and Residential Tourism in Madrid, March 23-25,

2011

2 Geographer; Professor at the Department of Sociology of the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana

Campus Iztapalapa in Mexico City. Mail: danielhiernaux@gmail.com ; web page: www.danielhiernaux.net

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the formation of the neoliberal ideology that drove a reduction in the State involvement in

economic and social regulation and a greater openness of borders, among other measures.

The difficulty in establishing such policies in a consensual way facing people who were

severely affected by repeated crises in the world economy from the seventies did not prevent

a consensus on the policies of open borders and greater opportunities for mobility in all its

forms. Global and mobile society began to build slowly but steadily.

Indeed, several factors still limit that mobility: on one hand, a traditional concept of territorial

anchoraje as a condition of self-confidence and, on the other, the consequences of increased

personal and collective insecurity caused by international terrorism, the expansion of criminal

groups and natural disasters which are increasingly repetitive. Recently (late 2010 and early

2011), the political instability in countries that had become important international tourist

destinations, obscure again the willingness of mobility. The spirit of time is now more than

ever divided into antinomian positions of detention / immobility and mobility and change.

The purpose of this paper is not to go into details of every facet of this increased mobility; for

the context of this work, we confine ourselves to the phenomenon known as residential

tourism, in particular, immigration to Mexico of elderly people who, frequently, end up

becoming long-term or definitive residents.

This communication to the symposium is based on several research, the first one wideranging

on residential tourism in Mexico, held in fifteen destinations of this type of tourism,

completed for the Ministry of Tourism of Mexico in late 2004 (Hiernaux, 2004) . Later, in

the context of the formation of a research network called "Gesture" (Group for Residential

Tourism Studies), some participants of the previous study deepened on the subject in some

specific destinations, the most relevant according to the results of the first study. These efforts

culminated into the publication of a collective book (Hiernaux, coordinator, 2010).

Finally, between 2007 and 2008, I developed a third stage of the research, raising a series of

in-depth interviews in Chapala, a town near Guadalajara and iconic destination for the

migration of elder Americans to Mexico. These interviews were conducted with U.S.

migrants (mainly U.S. and some Canadian) who were temporary residents or permanently

settled around Lake Chapala. Accompanied by additional interviews with Mexican residents

of second home in the same location, and complementary field survey, this research was

designed to analyze lifestyles and imaginaries of the residents. 3 Finally, it is necessary to make

the statement that certain partial results from other researchs also identified key elements that

contributed to our analysis, although these did not focus on migration of old population or

foreign residents. A recognition is done to work made by other authors, among the most

recent ones we cite David Truly (2002 and 2006) and Sheila Croucher (2009) which are

required readings on this subject and, particularly on the environment of Lake Chapala as

American migrant destination.

3 The fieldwork was coordinated by the Gabriela Carranza Ortegón, professor at the Universidad Autónoma

de Guadalajara under the direction of the subscript.

.

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1. Residential Tourism in Mexico

About the so-called "tourism of second homes" or "residential tourism", little is known in

Mexico: this is the result of the focal interest of the Mexican authorities and researchers in

the hotel tourism, particularly in destinations that became consolidated in Mexico from the

second half of the twentieth century. Still, tourism studies in Mexico are rare and generally

frowned upon in the social sciences, for this itch that leisure and its various manifestations are

not central to the study of the transformation of societies. Obviously it’s not what many other

authors have emphasized over several decades (Equipe MIT, 2002).

Moreover, the deficiencies of tourist statistics in Mexico are notorious, and those pertaining

to housing survey don´t make a difference from a house used temporally by tourist or weekend

resident to other types of accommodations, unlike the main countries where this

phenomenon has gained an extraordinary importance as Spain or France, for example.

However, there is enough evidence to confirm that the process of mass tourism focused on

the development of the model "sun and beach” in Mexico, germinated at the same time of

residential tourism and the arrival of domestic / foreign tourists in the destinations that

subsequently became emblematic of the massive beach tourism: such is the case of Acapulco

which its origins are based on the early arrival, essentially of Americans. In particular, the

strong reserves of Mexican federal government towards foreign immigration has been a

decisive factor for obscuring a very real process, even if relatively minor in volume compared

to the massive nature/beach tourism and the urban one.

The report of the Migration Policy Institute, 2006, prepared by that independent "Think

Tank", recognized that there is little literature on the subject of retired senior migration (for

that report, people over 55 years). Works on the Spanish, Italian or French are useful to

illustrate some cases, but stresses the heterogeneity of local experiences.

The so-called "tourism of second homes" or "residential tourism" in Mexico is a phenomenon

closely linked to international tourism development that properly starts in the twenties of last

century, once largely settled the post-revolutionary convulsions. While there was a movement

of foreigners into the country, the flow is relatively minor and only occurs in specific actions

of building or rental housing. After the World War II, during the country's economic

development known as "import substitution", the new middle classes and the accommodated

one demonstrated an increased interest in owning a second home in getaway destinations:

Cuernavaca, 75 miles from Mexico City or Acapulco became the favored destinations of

these trips, vacations or weekends.

Unlike what happened in other countries like Spain for example, the production of these

houses were made individually, through the direct purchase of the same or also through the

purchase of a piece of land and subsequent construction of a house, hiring an architect and

master builder, but not through the use of larger-scale building contractors. In other words,

the majority of housing production for second homes in Mexico has been made under

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individual initiative and not through building contractors. This, incidentally, explains in part

why it is so difficult to obtain reliable statistics on the second residence’ housing stock.

The proportion of foreigners buying houses for second homes was particularly limited in this

context, especially as the Mexican law on home ownership by foreigners was particularly

restrictive, even more so in the case of beach destinations. Bureaucratic entanglements but

also the underlying risk to buy a real estate in a country where the definition of property was

very ambiguous were also decisive factors for not having a mass purchase by foreigners.

Despite these difficulties, the presence of small groups of foreigners, mainly Americans, was

growing in some destinations that have become iconic over time: Taxco de Alarcón,

Guerrero; Chapala and the environment of Lake Chapala, in Jalisco, San Miguel de Allende,

Guanajuato in particular. In this last destination, the strong presence of hippies groups in the

sixties and veterans of war marked the presence of foreigners, mainly Americans, even if it

has been noted the presence of other national groups, particularly Canadians and Europeans

to a lesser extent (IMP, 2006 : 21; Carranza and Roldan, 2010). Even in essentially beach

hotel tourist-oriented destinations as Acapulco, the presence of groups of foreign residents is

evident. Note that they are always accompanied by the presence of wealthy Mexicans, who

buy or rent a second home in the same places.

The presence of Americans in Mexico is particularly important; in 1999 it was estimated at

more than one million people (IMP, 2006: 24) indicating a strong trend of growth between

1970 and 2000 although Mexican census report little more than 358 000 residents of this

country. This American-born population resides mainly in the Border States, in the three

major Mexican metropolis (Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey) and specific

destinations.

Map 1, taken from the IMP, reflects this particular distribution of the presence of Americans

(over 55 years) in the Mexican Republic from the 2000 census data.

Changes in housing policy of the Mexican government were critical to modify the model of

development of residential tourism: increased credit facilities and a direct impetus to the

construction company generated an incremental off housing construction. The key change

was, of course, mass production, i.e. the increase in housing construction in large projects

with repeated architectural models.

Moreover, the events of September 11, 2001 reinforced the feeling of insecurity among

Americans in their own country, inviting them to look somehow in Mexico to these points of

peace that were described for decades by publicity, as Chapala and San Miguel de Allende.

Even if we do not have clear statistics on that process, experts agree in indicating a strong

increase in the presence of Americans in Mexico, particularly in these locations.

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Map 1. Senior Americans in Mexico 4

Beyond the quantitative, is it clear that the very model of residential tourism changed

dramatically: in the traditional Mexican imagery, but perhaps also the U.S. that sought to

integrate into local life, the possibility of building a home the way you like it, depending on

personal architectural aspirations was always essential. Safety requirements and the new offer

of gated communities came to disrupt this trend, with the possibility of integrating the

property in the rental market for part of the year, which is also a significant component of the

second homes tourist market. Now the Americans can find in Mexico two things: a cheap

and safe housing in a quality site and the possibility to put the property in the rental market.

In other words, the holiday home passed from a statute of good /use value, to a housing /

exchange value. All interviews suggest that this factor is important, as we shall explain later.

In recent years, as is well known, the personal security situation in Mexico has declined

considerably by the extent of the power of drug cartels fighting among themselves for control

of cities, and the frontal attack that the Mexican government undertook to prevent the spread

of the previous problems. We have no elements to assess the impact of these processes on

the residence of older Americans in Mexico, but it is important and certainly more relevant

in places like Juarez City, which lies at the heart of the problems. Some reports speak of a

price decrease from 20 to 30% with respect to the peak values and 40% in border towns in

the eye of the storm. Sales have fallen 70%. 5

Another factor that has had a weight not yet determined is the crisis in the United States and

particularly the fall in its domestic real estate market; it can act in contradictory ways: on the

one hand, reduces the value of the original home of the candidates to migrate to Mexico,

which reduces their chances of moving to Mexico, the other is to reduce the cost of housing

in the United States itself which can dull the desire to migrate.

4 IMP, 2006: 28

5 Information obtain from CNN:

http://money.cnn.com/2010/04/28/real_estate/Mexican_housing_bust/index.htm consulted on february

12, 2011. The comments to the note are particularly interesting.

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Finally, the efforts made by the Mexican government in the sense of doing less complex and

bureaucratic the various procedures that foreigners must perform to go into Mexico should

not be underestimate: There have been more facilities for both the movement of people as

well as goods which, no doubt, generate a greater attractiveness of Mexico to the migration of

retirees. Even so, it should not be underestimated that competition is increasing among

countries and destinations in particular, and that the improving information systems through

the Internet, facilitates decision making by individuals.

2. The imaginary of residential tourism and lifestyles

This increased mobility of people in nonworking condition but in retirement is a major

challenge for a country like Mexico that had not been prepared before for the potential

impacts of such flows of people on issues as diverse as real estate, health services, provision

of urban services, tax collection, etc. The measures taken in favor of the liberalization of

“controllable” migration flows and simplification of procedures induce greater flows of

people that have not been properly studied.

This mobility is also associated with an increased mobility of the same Mexican population

with two precise trends: a migration to the United States of people that has been left out of

recent growth trends in the country or people escaping from a socially disadvantaged or

dangerous environment, to perform professionally in other contexts (the so-called "brain

drain"). On the other hand, a significant relocation of the Mexican population can be

observed that takes several directions: the first is to avoid insecure areas such as border

towns; the second is a decongestion of the population of large metropolitan areas to medium

size cities whose actual economic growth is based on recent settled production plants. This is

the case of the country's main medium cities (many between half a million and a million

citizens) considered as a good option for their way of life so much easier, also for its

appropriate equipment conditions as is school facilities, health and leisure, and with prices

well lower in real estate market.

With this increased mobility of Mexican society 6 , the arrival of a few Americans (Americans

and Canadians) may seem a minor dimension. However, at certain locations in particular

where they tend to concentrate, some economical, social, political, cultural and territorial

process occurred which should be met and in first instance, better understood.

As part of this paper we only refer to some particular aspects that are derived from fieldwork

conducted essentially in Chapala. One of the most notorious aspects that is identified in

various studies but that we could confirm in our own field work, is that we are witnessing a

strong "regional competitiveness." This concept, widely used in economic geography and

spatial economics, has been reported in the literature as the ability of certain territories to

attract foreign investment flows, these being domestic or foreign. The theory tells us that cities

enter into real competitive games, and therefore develop important marketing strategies, as

6 To which it must be added the mobility of Central Americans who want to pass through Mexico to get to

the U. S. and are victims of multiple abuses (an estimated of half-million people crossing Mexico each year).

The media has made an eco to the difficulties and abuses that the migrants face and in some occasions the

help and solidarity they receive.

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event management, search for hosting a major international event such as sports games,

universal exhibitions, iconic buildings are among the mechanisms used.

In tourism the competition to attract demand is obviously very intense, and is expressed in

tourism fairs such as Berlin or Madrid or the Tourism “Tianguis” held every year in

Acapulco as well as various promotion policies undertaken regularly by federal and state

governments closely associated with entrepreneurs of this industry.

For the residential tourism there are no economic agents with the weight of the major

airlines, tour operators or large hotel corporations. The promotion is then made through the

intervention of local authorities, but also through the vast amount of information contained

on the Internet in relation to these destinations for residential tourism.

Candidates to become residents do not act all the same way: while some do their "homework"

spending hours on the Internet for coolly analyze such diverse destinations as Thailand,

South Africa and Mexico, many take a decision from experience of other: such as stories on

the Internet, or recommendations from relatives, friends, distant acquaintances and former

colleagues which turn out to be a rich source of information.

Obviously most of the people we interviewed took a favorable decision so they were satisfied

with the information gathered. The most cleaver do a short-stay (holiday) in different

destinations for which they already have favorable information. It should be noted that

Internet concentrates not only marketing information (from developers or local

governments), but also web-pages and blogs of "amateurs" who express their comments about

the conditions in this or other development. In addition, some companies have specialized in

offering information seminars, where there are plenty of performances of "happy residents."

In short, in the American system there are strong promotional machineries that play a critical

role in the decisions of future residents. 7

We have not analyzed in details the imaginary that sustains such market proposals; based on

a review of some pages on the subject we can state tentatively that: i) the retirement options

are located in an international context, with good information and specific proposals for

prospective buyers; ii) the sponsoring enterprises use a series of powerful images about the

qualities of the destinations; in this sense they create a sort of "imaginery" of the residential

tourism aimed at attracting investors, iii) the promotion always manage a double argument,

the profitability of migration (by low housing costs and life, tax cuts, etc..), and an idyllic view

of destinations as “distant havens” to which certain "chosen" would be able to access.

The promotional stetegy is both objective and subjective, capturing the attention on the

conditions of the acquisition, but, and above all, exerting a very powerful ideological

manipulation.

Still, our interviewees reported in some cases a decision without further analysis: take a

decision with the story and the photos brought by a friend, love the place after a short

7 An example of such promotional machinery is: http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/index.php

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vacation are other approaches which take place in decision making but does not seem to be

dominant.

On the objective dimension of the buying decision and mobility, we also find that the factor

of economic profitability is highly present as we mentioned before: while the Mexican

residential tourist is looking for a "house" a second "home" and does not seem too willing to

rent, many Americans give high weight to the possibility of renting their property to pay the

mortgage during the period of the year they don’t use it. The existence of an extensive

network of developers and real estate agencies often run by immigrant residents becomes a

guarantee of protection to the good that is administered by professional people, but also a

way to further reduce the final cost of operations through rent.

It should be noted here that it is suspected that many of these operations are not officially

recorded so they do not pay taxes in Mexico. In addition, in cases such as Puerto Peñasco (in

the Northern State of Sonora, known as “Rocky Point” to the average American) where the

market is totally dominated by foreigners, an activity in situ can be observed from Arizona

real estate brokers working in Mexico without a local licence and residence authorization.

Many operations enter into a gray area of illegality that is of no benefit to the host country

and probably are related with money laundering.

Another dimension of lifestyle that develops in these places is the role of the "break" a

respondent's handling of the image of "crossing the Rubicon" 8 8 The " Alea iacta est" for many

residents is indeed a decision of strong consequences: it implies selling their house in the

States, make a distance unintended but real with the circles of friends and relatives including

children, in short, start a new life. The discourses of the interviewees demonstrated a double

sensation: one of release but accompanied by a real loss.

For many new residents in Mexico's liberation comes from the retirement of a very

oppressive work -usually at executive level-, which marks the end of a long life in which

he/she felt permanently overwhelmed by complex activities always carried out under pressure

and stress. Respondents expressed their feeling of rest, relief. The liberation can also express

the fact that you can step back from a complicated life style: the loneliness or/and the difficult

environment after a divorce or separation. It could also express the anemic release when you

recovered your health after a serious illness ... In short, most of the respondents show that to

give up their employment status or previous marital or social context may represent a genuine

release.

In this context, emigration becomes both a remedy to avoid falling back into the same

situation and a way of "putting distance" over the past to avoid being pursued by it. This does

not mean that there isn´t a deep sense of loss: children, friends, certain moments (such as

Thanksgiving, Christmas ...), in short the feeling of losing everything that formed the previous

Heimat. Therefore, the speech of residents tends to minimize these effects, arguing, for

example, that "now the conditions for communication are easier” (personal travel or by

8

As a historical memory, the Rubicon is an Italian river that separated the Roman provinces of Gallia from

Italy. Crossing the river with his army, at night 11 to January 12, 49 BC, Caesar takes a radical decision facing

the roman Senate and breaking with the political system.

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electronic or telephonic means) but and above all, that these adverse effects are minors

collateral damage in the face of a fundamental human right: the right to define his/her life,

particularly in an age when each year counts. A good example of these is the following

statement

“My son’s 34 and my daughter is 29, and so they’re both on their own, they don’t

need me and I think they’re really grateful that I’m happy here, and I made sure

they all came down fairly soon after I had the house, so they could see how

wonderful it was for me to live in Mexico and that I wasn’t running away from

them, that I was going to something fabulous, beautiful place to live… and they’re

happy that I’m happy, and that’s ok, they’re quite happy there, they have their own

lives, they don’t really need you, they might miss you a few times a year, but, also

it’s gotten easier on the telephone…” (American resident of Chapala).

This personal right, this obligation, expressed by some residents in relation to start a new life

is a clear manifestation of the growing individualization of today's societies, particularly in

certain Western contexts where the attachment to family is less important: it is clearly the

case overall in the United States. It is the individual who defines his future: his prior "good

behavior" in the society (he was a hard worker and leader for example) and with his people (a

good father or a good mother and a faithful friend) gives him the right to self-determination

in the twilight of his life.

This right is not seen as a right to go to die quietly in another national context: it´s a right to

reborn, to build a new life, to live what has sometimes been dreamed, as we can see in the

next phrase: “when I go back to Canada, I’m somebody’s grandfather… but when I’m here, I’m

me!” In this context, the old imaginary that were buried under everyday life that gently turn

off the passions and aspirations, finally returns to the surface. That is why the new life

involves in many cases a desire for personal growth in fields that were destroyed in a previous

life by family, social and professional obligations.

In all locations and through our interviews, we can observe specific behaviors of respect for

freedom to choose a new life for these residents "born again"; one of the tracks followed by

them is to finally carry out these activities that were banned in the past: painting, writing a

novel, dedication to "cultivate his garden" (in the literal sense but also in the sense that

Voltaire gave, “be devoted to his own”).

There is extensive literature of second-order (often self-published) about life in retirement

places, how to make the decision to migrate, etc. Some people like Karen Blue offers a firsthand

material for the researcher by writing a book that chronicles the life of migrant women

(Blue, 2000) and their aspirations, fears and new beginning in a distant tourist destination.

The cities of high concentration of elderly migrants offer meeting facilities and exhibition

halls where the most gifted, perhaps the boldest, display their artwork, read their literary

works-poems, stories and fictions, or express their musical capabilities. The recognition

among friends and peers, is a real incentive for these people that are trying to achieve

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plenitude through trails that were blocked before. Even if few can imagine reaching the top

with their art, it is clear that the “Malcolm Lowy syndrome" 9 is frequent in these places.

Another dimension of this new life, possibly part of the imaginary of rejection of the model

in which they were forced to live, is the possibility of "gift": very often the residents participate

in charitable activities. Some organizations have set up orphanages and programs to support

people in difficulty. In other cases, residents themselves try to alphabetize the people around

them (e.g. domestic staff) or to teach English in an informal way. In several cases, the resident

gives his vehicle which they no longer use much or can no longer drive because of health

problems and age. This view of welfare is very much present on migrant’s societies and is a

complex side of the relationship established between migrants and local population.

An interesting expression that allows a lot of reflection is the common use of the word

"Casita” (Little House). The “casita” is not only the physical construction where you reside,

it´s a lot more. It’s perhaps a reaction against a society like the American where the changes

of address are very common and people are much less rooted than in other cultural contexts.

The "casita" then, is this space referred to by Jean Baudrillard in his Poetics of Space, but can

also be an expression of what Immanuel Kant said: "The house, the home, is the only

bulwark against the horror of the emptiness, the night and the dark origins; it contains in its

walls all that humanity has patiently built up for ever and ever; it opposes to evasion, loss,

absence because it organizes its own internal order, sociability and passion. Its release is

displayed in the stable, the closed and not in the open or indefinite. Being at home is the

same as recognizing the slow pace of life and pleasure of still meditation."

It seems that the migrant accumulates in the house all the positive elements against the

difficulty of the world: by finding another place on the planet, he is also building a "sense of

place" an attachment to a particular building which he endorses. That is why houses of those

migrants by lifestyle are often beautifully decorated, full of objects, well-maintained gardens

and full of flowers. Faced with the horror sensed not only of the world around them but from

aging which comes with potential diseases and death, the "casita" becomes an almost mythical

lair where we can meet the closest friends and relative, but also where the person seeking

solitude and peace with himself can retire.

An example of this relationship it’s the next statement: “Then the sister of a friend of us, was

looking for a place here and we wanted to help her, and we came into this old house, a very

old hacienda that was literally falling apart… the roofs where falling and so were the

walls, it had the original “lavadero” and was completely made of “adobe”.. and uh…

well… we loved it and we stole if from our friend without even telling her about it! We

remodeled it, we wanted to conserve that holliwoodesque appearance... we thought it

would be perfect for shooting “El Zorro”! It has 12 rooms, and 12 bathrooms, it has a den,

a dining room, a beautiful kitchen with an old oven to bake bread, it has 7 chimneys,

garden, and it’s truly private, we love our garden and we love our intimacy, we also love

the fact that has view to the lake!” (gay couple, Chapala).

9 I use this expression in reference to the well know literary work Malcom Lowy, Under the Volcano, written

in Mexico.

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Building a new referential space from which one sees the world not only gives a new

relationship to space nearby, but at the same time implies an openness to the rest of the

environment: the housing compound, the same neighborhood, while not totally controlled by

the resident, are acceptable at least from the time you know that it keeps your personal

refuge.

Complaints also abound about the defects of the place: "Things are getting better, but

frequently, there's dog poop on the streets, on the sidewalks, I do not like all the garbage

between here and Guadalajara on the highway, it's just very offensive ... I don't like to see

dead animals on the side of road, I don't like cucarachas, I don't like scorpions, and I don't

like Telmex. I hate Telmex!! 10 " (American resident in Chapala). But at the same time and in a

much more emphatic way, the advantages of the location are highlighted: in this regard there

is a perceptible imaginary vision of "Mexico is beautiful” among the U.S. resident population,

as this imaginary of the "good Indian" which I discussed in another context through the

literary work of beatnik writer Jack Kerouac (Hiernaux, 2007).

The resident is not blind to the complexities and challenges of living in Mexico: he

recognizes the existence of certain hazards, the pervasiveness of poverty, the lack of civic

culture, the indifference of the average Mexican to meet the commitments of time (the

"flexible time" especially in the popular sectors) but also preferred in most cases, to show the

positive sides of the place where they chose to live. As Banks notes, this double speech on

Mexico by foreign residents can be read as "... a way of discursively foothold as subjects'

attractive, culturally tolerant and pragmatically adaptable " (Banks, 2004: 361).

Finally, the discourse of American residents about himself starkly evidence the same

ambiguity that they expressed in relation to Mexicans; they appear to be tolerant for example

in terms of sexual preferences and lifestyles, not missing aggressive expressions of some

against the "Ugly American" this vulgar American prototype of people in square shorts,

speaking loudly, using bad words, and invading the privacy of others, which has been

transformed into a caricature of the average American tourist. This has also led to a

contradictory discourse in which not a few residents complain and feel they are no more

welcomed in their paradise. The "no more gringos" is paradoxically a claim of some

American residents who know they are not always welcome in Mexico, among others because

they recognize the effects that their presence leads on real estate prices for example, and

justify their presence and want to defend their new space in the world through a discourse

rejecting the growth of the migration process by lifestyle.

This is possibly one of the many paradoxes that deserve to be studied in more detail in this

process of international migration which confirms the hypothesis of a mobile society but at

the same time creates a complex social fabric which is increasingly difficult to govern.

10 Telmex (Teléfonos de México) is the old public telephone Mexican company that has been privatize but

keeps maintaining monopoly practices over the Mexican telephonic system, and it´s not well accepted

because of its high prices.

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Bibliography

Banks, Stephen (2004), “Identity narratives by American and Canadian retirees in Mexico”, Journal of

Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 19: 361-381.

Bauman, Zygmunt (2006), Vida líquida, Madrid: Paidos.

Blue, Karen (2000), Midlife Mavericks: women reinventing their lifes in Mexico, USA: Universal

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